Little change to Isaac, but intensification coming; Joyce forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:13 PM GMT on August 23, 2012

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Tropical Storm Isaac is a large and impressive-looking storm on satellite images, but data from the Hurricane Hunters reveal that Isaac remains a minimal-strength tropical storm with 40 mph winds, as it heads westward across the Eastern Caribbean. An Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft which completed its mission into Isaac at 8 am EDT found top winds at the surface near 40 mph, and highest winds at their 5,000 foot flight level of 47 mph. A NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft flying at 10,000 feet has found top winds of 47 mph at that altitude. The Hurricane Hunters found a broad area of light winds with a central pressure of 1003 mb. The aircraft did not observe an eyewall trying to form, and recent microwave satellite images also show no signs of an eyewall forming. There does not appear to be much in the way of dry air near the core of Isaac, as seen on water vapor satellite loops, which is a big switch from what we've seen previously. Visible satellite loops show that Isaac has a much more symmetric circular cloud pattern, and has developed a Central Dense Overcast (CDO) of high cirrus clouds, the hallmark of an intensifying storm. These clouds have very cold cloud tops, indicating that the updrafts creating them are quite strong. An analysis of upper level winds from the University of Wisconsin CIMSS shows that an upper-level pattern of outflow supportive of significant strengthening has developed this morning, with an upper-level outflow channel now well-established to the north, and a new outflow channel opening to the south. Radar imagery from Puerto Rico shows some weak low-level spiral bands that are slowing intensifying and becoming more organized.


Figure 1. Morning radar image of Isaac taken from the Puerto Rico radar. Isaac's rain bands are weak, but are starting to take on a more spiraling shape.

Intensity forecast for Isaac
Isaac has consistently confounded predictions that it would intensify, but all the potential factors inhibiting intensification seem to have diminished to the point where intensification has to occur. Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and ocean temperatures are warm, 29°C, and these warm waters extend to great depth, giving the storm a high total heat content to work with. These factors, combined with the favorable upper-level outflow pattern and more symmetric cloud pattern, support intensification, and all of the intensity models except the HWRF model predict intensification of Isaac to a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane by Friday afternoon. The latest 8 am EDT run of the SHIPS model predicts that wind shear will be light to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, for the next five days. The 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC predicted a 34% chance that Isaac will become a hurricane by Friday afternoon, and a 6% chance it will be a Category 2 or stronger hurricane then. By Friday afternoon, Isaac will likely be close enough to Southwest Haiti that the inner core will be disrupted, and the storm will likely be a 45 - 55 mph tropical storm on Saturday and Sunday as it moves over Cuba. Once Isaac pops off the coast of Cuba into the Florida Straits, it will be over very warm waters of 31 - 32°C (88 - 90°F), wind shear will be light to moderate, and the upper-level wind pattern favorable for intensification, with low wind shear due to an upper-level anticyclone over the storm. It will probably take at least 24 hours with the storm's center over water for it to become a hurricane.

Impact of Isaac on the Islands
The south coast of Puerto Rico should see Isaac's heaviest rains and strongest winds beginning near 8 pm EDT tonight, with tropical storm-force winds of 40 - 45 mph potentially affecting the southwest portion of the island. The San Juan airport may be able to stay open during Isaac's passage, but with delays when spiral bands move overhead.

Heavy rains and tropical storm-force winds should arrive on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic late tonight, and the Santo Domingo airport will probably be closed on Friday. Rainfall amounts of 8 - 12 inches will likely affect the Dominican Republic Thursday through Saturday, creating dangerous flash floods and mudslides.

Isaac is potentially a very dangerous storm for Haiti, where 400,000 people still live outside underneath tarps in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. Heavy rains from Isaac will begin on Friday morning in Haiti, and last through Sunday. Rainfall amounts of 8 - 12 inches are possible, which will be capable of causing extreme flooding on the vegetation-denuded slopes of Haiti. It will be a major challenge to keep those Haitians living outside safe, if rainfall amounts of 5 - 10 inches occur.

Impact on Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas
Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas are all at risk of receiving flooding rains and high winds from Isaac. The latest set of 00Z (8 pm EDT) and 06Z (2 am EDT) model runs for Isaac are fairly unified for the coming three days, showing a west-northwestward track over Southwest Haiti and into Western Cuba. At the 4 - 5 day forecast period for Sunday and Monday, the models have come into better agreement, and have shifted west some. Our best-performing model, the ECMWF, has now shifted Isaac's path more to the east, but still is the westernmost of the models, predicting a landfall for Isaac near the Alabama/Florida border on Wednesday. While we do still have some models predicting a path up the east coast of Florida, model consensus now favors a path up the west coast of Florida through the Gulf of Mexico. The recent reformation of Isaac's center more to the south supports the idea that Isaac will take a track more to the west through the Gulf of Mexico. Since this now means a final landfall for Isaac in the Florida Panhandle is likely, the storm will probably have an extra day over water, increasing the odds that it will become a Category 2 or stronger hurricane before this final landfall. The NOAA jet is scheduled to fly into the storm this afternoon, to do a large-scale dropsonde mission to aid model forecasts. These missions can improve model forecasts by 10 - 20%, so the model runs that will be available early Friday morning should have increased reliability.

Impact on Tampa, Florida
The Republican National Convention begins on Monday in Tampa, Florida. The latest 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC gives Tampa a 15% chance of receiving tropical storm-force winds and a 1% chance of receiving hurricane-force winds on Monday. The latest model tracks for Isaac suggests that the trough of low pressure pulling the storm to the north will not be strong enough to give Isaac a northeastward component of motion when it crosses Tampa's latitude. Thus, Isaac will have difficulty making a direct hit on Tampa without passing over a considerable amount of land first, making a multi-billion dollar hurricane disaster in Tampa very unlikely. I put the odds of a mass evacuation occurring during the convention at 1%; a limited evacuation of people in the Tampa Bay area living in mobile homes in low-lying areas is probably about 5 - 10 % likely. I have detailed information on Tampa's storm surge vulnerability in a post from last week.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Joyce.

Tropical Storm Joyce forms in the Central Atlantic
The season's tenth named storm of the year, Tropical Storm Joyce, has formed in the Central Atlantic. Joyce's formation on August 23 puts 2012 in a tie for second place with 1995 for earliest formation date of the season's tenth storm. Only 2005 had an earlier appearance of the season's tenth storm, when Tropical Storm Jose formed at 2 pm EDT on August 22. None of the models show that Joyce will be a threat to the Lesser Antilles Islands, but it may be a storm that will affect Bermuda. It is possible that Joyce will complicate the track forecast for Isaac 4 - 5 days from now, when the storms may be close enough together to interact.

Jeff Masters

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2:00 PM AST Thu Aug 23
Location: 16.0°N 66.4°W
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 1003 mb
Max sustained: 40 mph
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Tourists allowed to stay in Florida Keys for now

Link
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Quoting wpb:
anyone have post hmrf,gfdl 12z runs
no but if anyone does..please post it..its the model I have been going with all along, it never budged
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41628
This makes me excited for the future of hurricane tracking...

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Quoting StormTracker2K:
HWRF stalls Issac out over Cedar Key. Another model another stall.


Also again the HWRF shifted east this run.
Will it conduct a loop like Hurricane Easy?
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Will be very interesting to see exactly how far north the center is:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26698
Quoting Levi32:


For one thing I was making up my forecast before the 12z GFS came out, and did not see it until after my post.

As for "bias"...there is much to be said for consistency and only slow changes in the 4-5 day forecast track. The NHC is known to be slow to change as well, and that can be a virtue. I am only 150 miles east of the model consensus at Day 5, which in reality is not that much. We have seen far bigger shifts than that, and as long as I see an eastward adjustment being a possibility, I don't want to throw my track westward only to have to yank it back. Tomorrow may be the day I have to shift if the models refuse to budge.

Here's the bottom line. What I am trying to do with my posts right now is make my forecast, but also let people that are watching me know about all of the possible scenarios and the uncertainties in the forecast such that they can be prepared and ready for what this storm may bring. My forecast cone is much bigger to the west because of the large uncertainties on that side of the track in this situation. My hope is that even if I am wrong on the exact track by 100-200 miles or so 5 days in advance, that folks that have watched/read me will have been made aware of the situation and well-informed about the possible impacts even if the exact track has to shift a bit during the final 72 hours.


showing class even in the face of.....well, you know.

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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
My god, Levi's a big boy he can defend himself we don't need this every freaking day here on the blog. Someone criticizing his forecast is not criticizing him as a person.


The point is that we want to hear why they disagree with his forecast. He gives reasoning for his forecast track... if they disagree, lets hear the reasoning for their forecast track. Playing follow the leader with NHC GFS or Euro does not count... Levi goes way more in depth and if they feel the need to criticize someone for their OPINION, they should at least explain why with their own reasoning.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
HWRF stalls Issac out over Cedar Key. Another model another stall.


Also again the HWRF shifted east this run.


That would be terrible for Tampa
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Quoting Levi32:


For one thing I was making up my forecast before the 12z GFS came out, and did not see it until after my post.

As for "bias"...there is much to be said for consistency and only slow changes in the 4-5 day forecast track. The NHC is known to be slow to change as well, and that can be a virtue. I am only 150 miles east of the model consensus at Day 5, which in reality is not that much. We have seen far bigger shifts than that, and as long as I see an eastward adjustment being a possibility, I don't want to throw my track westward only to have to yank it back.

Here's the bottom line. What I am trying to do with my posts right now is make my forecast, but also let people that are watching me know about all of the possible scenarios and the uncertainties in the forecast such that they can be prepared and ready for what this storm may bring. My forecast cone is much bigger to the west because of the large uncertainties on that side of the track in this situation. My hope is that even if I am wrong on the exact track by 100-200 miles or so 5 days in advance, that folks that watched/read me will have been aware of the situation and well-informed about the possible impacts even if the exact track has to shift a bit during the final 72 hours.


Understand the situation now regarding your forecast prior to the 12z... And again I am only trying to help please dont take it negatively but my concern is that if you choose to take a path in lets says industrial met. you have to give various options to forecast. I recall you saying that no matter how you slice it it is going to be a florida storm, but in the same sentence you say that there is a lot that can change in 4-5 days. I agree with alerting people but you say that you are alerting them of possible scenarios, however I have seen no mention of a track west of florida which is been a possibility for at least 2 days. So in reality your ultimately denying the possibility of any other track. I have noticed that your cone does stretch on the western side, but becuase alot of people do depend on your forecast and do treat it as gospel they may not get the full pie only a piece. You may ultimately let them down
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Quoting zoomiami:
The purpose of a blog is to express opinions, not to line up in criticism of someone who has an opinion. I've been on the blog for quite a while, and am deeply disturbed by those who come on here simply to pick at Levi's forecast.

If you don't agree -- state that without personal attacks, and back it up with some reasons. Personal attacks will cause you to be banned, and I guarantee that this is the busy time they are talking about.

I also think that the models will pull a little more to the east, and that is based on the upper level movements coming across the US. I don't think it will get as far as the east coast, but stranger things have happened. Either way you are only talking about a difference of about 163 miles. That is well within the acceptable range of error at this point.



They're probably kids who think it's a laugh to come on here and do some baiting. The same thing happened when a bunch of them ganged up on StormW a few years ago. He also gave in depth analyses with graphics.
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
The NHC is not that good from TX to FL in one day!! lol


+10000000
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
IMO coc at 14N and 67.5W....bold I know....wtheck, just a guess.
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It looks like the GFS is moving more to the left to meet the EURO....instead of the other way around.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6912
Hate it when coordinates are directly over your own house, 12Z HWRF:

HOUR: 96.0 LONG: -80.40 LAT: 25.80 MIN PRESS (hPa): 980.00 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 64.00
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Is still doing. That convective band remains over those islands.

yep and that..is coming..to us for sure..and maybe..bigger and stronger, depending on the mountains it has to cross over..but suppose it dont..suppose it sneaks past them and isnt disrupted? many have done so in the past..and then hits that jet fuel hot water on the other side near florida?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41628
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
The NHC is not that good from TX to FL in one day!! lol


How many of us have seen such a radical shift in one day?
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HWRF stalls Issac out over Cedar Key. Another model another stall.


Also again the HWRF shifted east this run.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting scott39:
For an official track, the NHC is the only one to go by.
Right and also not to follow the line.
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Quoting jeffs713:
14.9/66.3 Or so. Tell me what you see there, when looking at the loop.
yup
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There is so much mass and hence momentum south of 15N where the MLC seems to be with Issac that it will take a LOT to change the current WEST track...
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Quoting NovaScotia33:
Hi guys. Long time lurker from Halifac NS on the east coast of Canada. The mets up here have started discussing a possibility of an eventual tag team hit between Joyce and Isaac depending on timing. What are your thoughts? Thanks guys. I love the knowledge I get from this site. Cheers.


No way.
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The NHC is not that good from TX to FL in one day!! lol
Quoting scott39:
For an official track, the NHC is the only one to go by.
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800. wpb
anyone have post hmrf,gfdl 12z runs
Member Since: May 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 573
Quoting GetReal:


IMO the LLC is at 14.9N and 66.6W.

I think you are right

Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12710
Quoting BarometerGirl:


The devastation that Katrina caused along the Gulf coast of Mississippi, especially near Biloxi, was staggering. The flooding in NOLA b/c of the levee breaks took the media focus completely away from the Miss. Gulf Coast, but the damage along Hwy 90 was equal to Camille.

I visited NO (the Lakeshore area and the Ninth Ward) and then traveled the coast on my honeymoon on the way to Florida, and the damage was even more shocking than in New Orleans. Everything was basically wiped out along the coastline to over a mile inland from the storm surge. The wind did the rest. Even along I-10 the billboards were twisted and many down, all the gas stations at exits with no roofs or completely wrecked. When we drove to the coast we were flabbergasted with what we saw-- the media was not covering any of it as they were all in New Orleans.

Hwy. 90 was still closed and undriveable, we spent and entire day driving down exits from I-10 south to the coast. Nothing was left but piles of devastation all along Hwy 90 from Waveland to Pascagoula. It looked like it had been bombed, or hit by a tsunami.

Link


Between Katrina and Rita, three weeks apart, both the coastlines of MS and LA were wiped out.
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3166
I'll go 15.5n 67w 50mph and the game is on.
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Quoting KWweathergrl:
Just wondering why with this storm I haven't seen one word on what the Florida Keys should be expecting or getting prepared for ??? More talk about Tampa and Panhandle but the storm has to go through the Keys to get to either !!! Confused -__-

Isaac is expected to be interrupted by Cuba, so what happens to you will depend on a couple of things. Obviously, which part of Cuba it traverses (the eastern end has higher mountains which may disrupt its path and intensity more while central Cuba is flatter and would be less of an influence/impediment). The other factor is how long Isaac hangs around in the Straits. Am sure there are more but those are the two obvious to me at the moment.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
This is what Isaac did in Trinidad & Tobago:


Is still doing. That convective band remains over those islands.

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11694
2pm advisory should be out shortly
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Idk what happened to this post.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
Excellent job Levi...

Waiting for the video forecasts of those criticizing your work...



Exactly. Its easy for people to simply copy the models or NHC forecast to bash Levi without ANY reasoning of their own. Those people fail to mention that the NHC has steadily adjusted their track (meaning the original one was not correct)... or that the NHC has been completely wrong so far about intensity (Levi has been much closer with his intensity forecast all along). I just get sick of the bashing because I learn more from Levi's videos than anywhere else... if people disagree, like you say, I look forward to their own video forecasts EXPLAINING WHY they disagree. And "because the NHC" (Or GFS or Euro) says otherwise is not an explanation- I am talking about the actual reasoning for the track disagreement. We will be waiting

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Quoting KWweathergrl:
Just wondering why with this storm I haven't seen one word on what the Florida Keys should be expecting or getting prepared for ??? More talk about Tampa and Panhandle but the storm has to go through the Keys to get to either !!! Confused -__-

Your right, everybody seems to be forgetting the Keys.
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My god, Levi's a big boy he can defend himself we don't need this every freaking day here on the blog. Someone criticizing his forecast is not criticizing him as a person.
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Quoting Relix:
No, nothing ever goes according to plan.

so true
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Quoting CloudGatherer:
7:34:00Z 16.417N 66.733W
842.9 mb (~ 24.89 inHg)
1,528 meters (~ 5,013 feet)
1002.7 mb (~ 29.61 inHg)


Pressure's down, but the inner circulation remains something of a mess; nothing resembling an eye.



Yeah one of the vortices has strengthened.
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perfect example is hurricane charley it was suppose to make a direct hit on the tampa bay area and made landfall 100 miles to the south in punta gorda. so in reality this storm is huge and for florida not to receive tropical storm force winds it would have to go though extreme western cuba/ yucatan area.
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For an official track, the NHC is the only one to go by.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6912
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Great blog today Levi. That weakness is very evident today and infact more so than yesterday.

Here's that weakness. Folks remember Charley was supposed to hit Panama City but instead took a hard right into Port Charlotte,FL.

Actually it was forecasted to hit Tampa Bay and hung a hard right and hit 60 miles south of us in Punta Gorda.
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Issac looking a little crappier on the latest sat.. Center to my untrained eyes seems to be roughly at 15N - 67W
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Quoting presslord:
These missions can improve model forecasts by 10 - 20%, so the model runs that will be available early Friday morning should have increased reliability.


comment count? has it helped?
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Recon is going toward the strong part of Isaac. I'm expecting 45-50 mph at peak when this is done. Pressure at 1002 mb is my guess.

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Quoting zoomiami:
The purpose of a blog is to express opinions, not to line up in criticism of someone who has an opinion. I've been on the blog for quite a while, and am deeply disturbed by those who come on here simply to pick at Levi's forecast.

If you don't agree -- state that without personal attacks, and back it up with some reasons. Personal attacks will cause you to be banned, and I guarantee that this is the busy time they are talking about.

I also think that the models will pull a little more to the east, and that is based on the upper level movements coming across the US. I don't think it will get as far as the east coast, but stranger things have happened. Either way you are only talking about a difference of about 163 miles. That is well within the acceptable range of error at this point.
thank you !!!!!!!!!
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780. Relix
Really? Attacking Levi? That's the kind of stuff that has scared away several great members. Just because you want something to happen doesn't mean you need to attack others. I trust Levi more than 99% of some of the idiots who post here, and I could start naming some but I'll hold off. The guy knows, and he knows more than many of you. Can he be wrong? Absolutely, same as NHC. \

Yes, you want the storm to hit you. No, nothing ever goes according to plan.
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2741
Quoting Levi32:


For one thing I was making up my forecast before the 12z GFS came out, and did not see it until after my post.

As for "bias"...there is much to be said for consistency and only slow changes in the 4-5 day forecast track. The NHC is known to be slow to change as well, and that can be a virtue. I am only 150 miles east of the model consensus at Day 5, which in reality is not that much. We have seen far bigger shifts than that, and as long as I see an eastward adjustment being a possibility, I don't want to throw my track westward only to have to yank it back. Tomorrow may be the day I have to shift if the models refuse to budge.

Here's the bottom line. What I am trying to do with my posts right now is make my forecast, but also let people that are watching me know about all of the possible scenarios and the uncertainties in the forecast such that they can be prepared and ready for what this storm may bring. My forecast cone is much bigger to the west because of the large uncertainties on that side of the track in this situation. My hope is that even if I am wrong on the exact track by 100-200 miles or so 5 days in advance, that folks that watched/read me will have been aware of the situation and well-informed about the possible impacts even if the exact track has to shift a bit during the final 72 hours.



well said
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7:34:00Z 16.417N 66.733W
842.9 mb (~ 24.89 inHg)
1,528 meters (~ 5,013 feet)
1002.7 mb (~ 29.61 inHg)


Pressure's down, but the inner circulation remains something of a mess; nothing resembling an eye.

Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 460
The purpose of a blog is to express opinions, not to line up in criticism of someone who has an opinion. I've been on the blog for quite a while, and am deeply disturbed by those who come on here simply to pick at Levi's forecast.

If you don't agree -- state that without personal attacks, and back it up with some reasons. Personal attacks will cause you to be banned, and I guarantee that this is the busy time they are talking about.

I also think that the models will pull a little more to the east, and that is based on the upper level movements coming across the US. I don't think it will get as far as the east coast, but stranger things have happened. Either way you are only talking about a difference of about 163 miles. That is well within the acceptable range of error at this point.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


Great blog today Levi. That weakness is very evident today and infact more so than yesterday.

Here's that weakness. Folks remember Charley was supposed to hit Panama City but instead took a hard right into Port Charlotte,FL.



Charley was never predicted to hit Panama City. It was scheduled to be a Tampa Bay area storm from the beginning, including on all the major model runs several days ahead of time.

At the very last minute (when we were in the process of heading out, on the road to a safer locale) Charley veered slightly to the right of its forecast track and hit Punta Gorda instead.

That storm was originally predicted to bolt straight north after turning to the right just below the western tip of Cuba (which it did) and then hug the Florida West Coast all the way up on a due north trajectory.
Member Since: October 15, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 764
Quoting WDEmobmet:


You continue to counter the EURO with what the GFS shows at the 500mb level, and yet you fail to mention to most recent forecast of the GFS with a panhandle landfall. To me it seems that you ignore any other possiblity that counters your original forecast, no way you slice it. My personal opinion is that your forecast are biased... sorry just my views. I like your analysis truly very well put together. Better than 99% of others posted here. However you are afraid to mention anything that disagrees with you and only give attention to what benefits you.
He is sticking to his guns with his forecast, but his video did not come off as being biased. That is his track for now. He said in the video that it could be subject to change, once they do the drop zones tonight and possibly find steering more to the W.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6912
Just wondering why with this storm I haven't seen one word on what the Florida Keys should be expecting or getting prepared for ??? More talk about Tampa and Panhandle but the storm has to go through the Keys to get to either !!! Confused -__-
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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